Saturday, September 14, 2013

Who is the greatest?

Martin Chemnitz is.

So says Johann Gerhard--at least when it comes to comparing Scripture passages for the sake of drawing out their genuine meaning and harmonizing any seeming contradictions. No doubt Gerhard has in mind in the quote below all of Chemnitz's works, but especially the famed Harmony of the Four Evangelists that Chemnitz never finished and left to Polycarp Leyser. I wonder, did Gerhard know when he published these words in 1610 that he would be the one to complete the so-called Harmonia Evangelistarum Chemnitio-Lyseriana over fifteen years later?

What makes this quote even higher praise is that it is a sort of non sequitur. Gerhard blurts it out as the last sentence in a chapter on how to go about comparing scripture with scripture. He couldn't help but say it:

Now, the experts are compelled to acknowledge that Chemnitz is the great, inimitable master of comparing passages (On Interpreting Sacred Scripture§ 208, [1610 Loci Theologici, locus 2]).

Coming from one so skilled with scripture as Gerhard, I'm not sure higher praise exists among men.